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Schnitzler, Arthur#

b. Vienna, May 15, 1862, d. Vienna, Oct. 21, 1931, epic writer and dramatist; son of Johann Schnitzler, father of Heinrich Schnitzler, grandfather of Michael Schnitzler. Came from a Jewish bourgeois family, studied medicine and very early developed an interest in psychology (1886 houseman with psychiatrist T. Meynert). From 1890 member of the circle of literary figures around H. Bahr ( Jung-Wien). In 1895 the Burgtheater performance of "Liebelei" ("Playing with Love") made him known to a wide public. S's image was very much influenced by his cycle of one-act plays around the decadent character of Anatol written from 1888. The two great dramas "Der einsame Weg" (premiere 1904) and "Das weite Land" ("The Undiscovered Country", 1911) are written in the spirit of Ibsen's social drama and his analysis of human motifs.


Because of his uncompromising depictions of society S. was always subject to heavy criticism. The novella "Leutnant Gustl" ("None but the Brave",1900), a pioneering work because of its use of interior monologue, led to the loss of his rank as officer. The censor prohibited the performance of the drama "Professor Bernhardi" (written in 1912) until 1918. The one-act play "Der gruene Kakadu" (1899) caused heavy protests from court circles and his "Reigen" ("Merry-Go-Round", 1900) of which he had 200 copies printed at his own expense, caused a scandal in the year after its première in 1920; as a consequence S. forbade further performances.


During the First World War S. never joined in the general enthusiasm for the war. In the 1st Republic he was wrongly considered a "writer about a lost world" who incessantly repeated the "sweet little girl" ("suesses Maedel") theme. He was deeply shaken by the suicide of his daughter Lili (1928).


Editions: Gesammelte Werke in Einzelbaenden, 6 vols., 1981; Briefe 1875-1931, ed. by P. M. Braunwarth et al., 2 vols., 1981/1984; Tagebuecher 1879-1931, ed. by the Kommission fuer literarische Gebrauchsformen, 1987-2000; Das erzaehlerische Werk, 12 vols., 1992-1995.

Literature#

C. Schorske: S. und Hofmannsthal, 1962; W. H. Rey, A. S., 1968; R. Urbach, A. S., 1968; H. Scheible, A. S. und die Aufklaerung, 1977; R. Wagner, Frauen um A. S., 1980; M. L. Perlmann, A. S., 1987; H. Tarnowski-Seidel, A. S., Flucht in die Finsternis, 1991; I. Lindgren, A. S. im Lichte seiner Briefe und Tagebuecher, 1993; U. Weinzierl, A. S., 1994; K. Fliedl, A. S. Poetik der Erinnerung, 1997; R. Rothe, A. S. und A. Sandrock, 1997; H. Scheible, A. S. mit Selbstzeugnissen und Bilddokumenten, 122000; OeBL.